Planning Yoga: How to Bend Without Breaking the Rules

APA Missouri Chapter


Friday, October 26, 2018
9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. CDT

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This session describes what flexibility is/is not and provide examples from our approximately 20 year of experience each for each of the takeaway points. One takeaway point is the important relationship between flexibility and economic development. Being flexible isn't synonymous with "selling out". It requires a clear understanding of a city's codes, policies and regulations and the ability to exercise sound professional judgement. It's one of planner's economic development tools because when used appropriately can build positive relationships with the development community. Developers talk, so a good experience in your community can potentially attract other projects. It can also result in applicants' willingness to provide better/more public amenities with projects (when these are negotiated). Another takeaway point is the importance of understanding situations that don't call for flexibility and how to maneuver them (like pressure from an elected official, incomplete applications and projects that don't meet minimum standards/requirements. Sometimes the only immediate answer is "NO" when a project as proposed won't work and that's OK. Sometimes flexibility can still be applied, sometimes not. Another takeaway point is flexibility sometimes means amending the code. We'll provide text amendment examples, explain why they were warranted and how they made good projects possible.


Ada Hood, AICP

Ada is responsible for all community development matters, including comprehensive, strategic and long range planning, zoning, permitting, overseeing GIS services and administering property maintenance within the City of Ellisville, Missouri. She was appointed Director in May 2004 and serves as staff liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Architectural ... Read More

Ellen Rottjakob, AICP

Ellen Rottjakob, AICP is an urban planner with nearly twenty years of experience working for regional and local governments. While she began her planning career in Peoria, IL, the majority of Ellen’s experience has been working for communities in the St. Louis region. Her areas of experience include city ... Read More

Contact Info

Brendan Griesemer,